spiderIts been a crazy week. First there was the centipede attack, and then the giant bug rampage. My friend nearly de-fingered herself in a bathroom brawl and my daughter did epic battle with a giant spider.

What? It could happen. And did. Of course, I may have left out a few facts.

Fact one: I accidentally stepped on a centipede in my classroom. In new shoes. It was icky.

Fact two: I squished a bug in my bathroom. On purpose. In my defense it was very early and the bug was huge, wiggly and uninvited.

Fact three: The only people involved in the brawl were my friend and a very heavy bathroom door. Her finger is expected to recover. The door was unharmed.

Fact four: The epic battle was more like a photographic barrage. The spider was, in fact, enormous, but continued it’s creepy little life unphased, along with its hundred or so black widow neighbors. Male spiders beware.

Word choice and phrasing is everything. If you don’t believe me, just think: which version of my week did you find more intriguing? Word choice isn’t only important to writers either.

Words have more influence than we can even begin to imagine. Consider the longevity of Winston Churchill’s nine word speech to students at Harrow in 1941. I can shorten it to three: Never Give Up. Add six more “evers” and there it is, the whole speech. It took all of thirty seconds to give, yet it remains one of the most quoted motivational speeches in history. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech is equally famous, along with JFK’s “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

Then you have the words of non-famous people. The words of those closest to us, especially, have enormous power in our lives. I have an aunt who told me I was lazy and a father who told me that I could do anything I set my mind to. My aunt didn’t mean to hurt me; my father fully intended to build my confidence. Both succeeded.

Your words matter. Make them count for something good.

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